Needing to be seen, I find my face
in the mirror and shave away the edge.
The lunatics on the street know me.
They whisper my secret name and splutter
profane histories that riff jagged chords
from out-of-tune wire. They beckon me to join
on bended knees and supplicate the God in you
at subway landings, our long greasy hair
draped over nugatory faces, neither male nor female,
our fingers hung like rotted fruit at the end
of dead tree limbs that beseech heaven
for pity, compassion, a stranger's stray dollar.
He hid under the covers and spoke
to the mother ship all night. At dawn,
he killed the dog and set the piano on fire.
The Others had come to take him home.
He spent months in the observation ward
and left with a pocket full
of antipsychotics and Gillespie
itching his finger tips with no way out.
They see one of their own in me, those lost
and despised. Like them, my past is one
long short-circuit of happiness. Their pain came
unasked, but mine played as perverse desire
to warm my self in its own burning ruins.
Criminally flawed, I'd bury my bone of deceit
in your chest and dig it out to chew on.
There's no crime I could not commit,
given the right circumstances.
When the meds milked his soul near empty,
the stars conjoined to tear him in two,
and his need to celebrate their harmony
so fated his blood, he quit eating the poison.
Lightning lost itself in the keys on the piano
and the chords of Gillespie spoke in angel voice
from the mother ship and mingled with mating songs
and drug deals in the dead end bar.
Dawn light on the Sangre de Christos ran red.
In the kingdom of the lost and insane,
the realm of saint and sinner, being seen
is not being seen, and not being seen
reveals our nothingness. Truth dies with you
in the grave and burns like an ember slowly
losing its glow. Only then do angel voices
open the gates of heaven or hell.
In the mirror, I shave away one more angle
to reveal yet another part of me that I might be or not.